Philips HDT8520 review

A difficult birth, but this Pace/Philips Freeview HD PVR is now as able bodied as any

TODO alt text


The HDT8520's user interface lacks a little in terms of pixels – it's not hi-res enough on a big screen – though it's a simple to use system. One major complaint we have is that the electronic programme guide is entirely separate from live TV; choose the Guide button on the excellent remote control and the picture and audio cuts out. It's a similar state of affairs when any other menu is called-up.

Philips hdt8520 remote

That lack of integration is a shame, though the EPG's recording functions are as joined-up as you could wish for. Simple taps of the remote's record button record single episodes and install series links (the latter take a few seconds and a 'booking in progress, please wait' message) direct from the EPG, which is quick to respond to button presses from the remote.

Philips hdt8520 epg

If a recording clash occurs, if gives you a choice to delete named programmes, while a HDD library includes icons for individual programmes and folders for programmes that result from a series link. Oddly, recordings are locked, and deleting one means a merry dance on the remote.

When watching recordings it's possible to scan at high speed – up to 128x, in fact, which is a very welcome feature – though there's no option to skip to a particular time of the recording, or in 10-minute chunks.

On the audio side the HDT8520 can't translate Freeview HD's native HE-AAC audio format to Dolby Digital, so surround sound is off the menu – one for the next software update, perhaps – though it does have a plethora of audio outputs.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital Video Recorder
Hard Drive Capacity500 GB
Maximum Recording Time125 Hour
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
Composite VideoYes
Sound SystemDolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus
Brand NamePhilips
Video FormatsMPEG-2, MPEG-4, MPEG
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height70 mm
Width235 mm
Depth210 mm
Video SystemPAL, DVB-T
Audio FormatsAAC
ManufacturerPhilips Electronics
Product ModelHDT8520
Product NameHDT8520 Digital Video Recorder
Manufacturer Part NumberHDT852005
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Watch and record your favourite TV shows in HD
Pause and resume live TV. Don't miss a thing with the Philips Freeview+ HD PVR! It not only integrates the top audio-visual technology, but also boasts remarkably low power consumption in both active and standby modes and has been designed to function almost silently.

Package Contents
  • HDT8520 Digital Video Recorder
  • Remote Control
  • 2 x AAA Batteries
  • HDMI Cable
  • RF Antenna Cable
  • Mains Cord
  • Mains Adapter
  • User Manual
  • Quick Start Guide
Weight (Approximate)1.75 kg